A 16-year-old Valdosta High School football player was killed by a hit-and-run driver over the weekend as he tried to rescue a critically injured dog lying on a busy road in Valdosta, Georgia, WSB-TV News reports.
According to Valdosta Police, the victim, Samuel Johnson Jr., was struck by the reckless driver on Saturday, Dec. 9, at approximately 6:15 p.m. Johnson was helping the dog when the vehicle appeared and knocked him down, throwing him off the roadway.
Police said a woman “traveling through the area” first came across the deceased dog on the pavement. Moments later, she spotted Johnson’s body lying on a strip of grass nearby. Next to him was another injured dog. Without hesitation, she dialed 911. Unfortunately, the talented football player was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.
As of now, authorities have not released details regarding the state of the dog discovered alongside Johnson.
Commenting on the tragic turn of events, Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan stated, “It is unexplainable the callousness and disregard for human life that this offender has shown, by hitting this teenage victim and leaving him.”
A social media post by the Valdosta Wildcats football team memorialized the player, describing him as “an amazing young man who was taken from us way too soon.”
Police in hot pursuit of hit-and-run driver
Early investigations into the case revealed the vehicle involved in the fatal hit-and-run was a dark-colored Dodge Charger. At the time of Johnson’s death, authorities appealed to the public to help locate the car and the suspected driver.
Thankfully, an updated report by the Valdosta Daily Times confirmed police have already seized the wanted vehicle. However, they are still searching for the driver responsible for having killed the former offensive linebacker.
Authorities are working around the clock to bring the suspect to justice. Chief Manahan shared that their “officers and detectives will not stop until they hold this offender accountable.” He further sympathized with the loved ones of the football player, adding, “My heart breaks for the family and friends of Mr. Johnson, who deserve answers as to why this happened.”
The Valdosta Police Department is requesting that anyone with pertinent information contact them at 229-293-3145 or at their crime tipline, 229-293-3091. Alternatively, tipsters can file a report online: www.valdostacity.com/police-department.